Tag:Notre Dame
Posted on: June 17, 2010 4:47 pm

How the Big East Survives

As a Big East fan, I hate this idea.  Unfortunately, I don't see any other way out for the BE other than merging with another league.  Beware Big East fans, this is not for the faint of heart.
By Selling It's Soul to Notre Dame
Posted on: April 19, 2010 10:36 pm

Big Ten Expansion: Rounding the Clubhouse Turn

Well that's what Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune thinks anyway.  With more Big Ten meetings this week, expansion will definitely be on a "front burner."  My picks for the expansion?  The Big Ten takes the big plunge and goes to 16.  Here are the teams:
and at long last, Notre Dame finally climbs on board as #16.
Here's the reasoning:
Posted on: April 13, 2010 8:59 pm

Confused Fan's Guide to Big Ten Expansion

For some reason, I thought it would be worthwhile to summarize what's happened on the Big Ten expansion front since they opened this can of worms back in December.  Included are quotes from the Big Ten AD's and commissioners that people seem to forget with time.  
Guide to B10 Expansion
Posted on: April 8, 2010 2:18 pm

Big Ten Expansion Choices: 11, 12 or 16???

Yes according to Tony Barnhardt.  It still all revolves around Notre Dame.

Is the Big Ten Expansion Expanding?
Posted on: March 20, 2010 4:24 pm

Big Ten Expansion Rumour Du Jour -ND, Rutgers, BC

Just when Big Ten expansion rumours were starting to quiet down, whistling in from the heartland of the nation comes this gem:
Radio host Steve Daece in Des Moines, Iowa quotes "sources in the Michigan athletic department" believing that Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Boston College are likely to be announced as winners of the Big Ten Beauty Pageant in 2-3 months.  Posters in Iowa have on the one hand alleged that Daece's source is the guy who drives the Little Debby Snacks truck to cafeteria  and on the other hand lauded Daece as an accurate prognosticator.  So anyone's guess on the validity of this one is, well, valid.

So let's look at this premise.  1.  Notre Dame.   Duh!  Yes the Big Ten will be happy to open its doors to the Golden Domers despite being spurned in the past.  Rumours from the Big Ten indicate that ND will have to do the courting this time.  This is like that hot chick that shot you down has to give you a sign that she's interested now.  So if ND looks coyly at the Big Ten and smiles, they're in. 

2.  Rutgers.  Yes I can hear the wailing and gnashing of elitist teeth already.  No Texas?  Uh, no.  But the Big Ten deserves better.  Yes and I deserve to retire right now to a life of playing golf, drinking good bourbon, and doing whatever the hell I feel like.  Ain't gonna happen.  Let me spell it out.  The Big Ten Network wants to make more money.  They want the NY/NJ television sets.  A lot of them.  Sorry Michigan, Penn State and whatever other Big Ten school that has at least one alumnus in NYC, you're just not getting it done.  Furthermore, the duo of Rutgers and Notre Dame on the BTN is a pretty good argument to get it on the basic tier.  And maybe, just maybe the BTN can get a bump in Philadelphia rates (4th largest DMA) with Rutgers in the fold as well. So despite many Big Ten fans' belief that Rutgers isn't worthy of the Big Ten, the fact remains that the Big Ten Network isn't worthy of getting on the basic tier in the NY/NJ area without them.  Deal with it.

3.  Boston College.  Now this one to me is a stretch.  Yes, you traditionophiles, BC has it, they have a rivalry with ND,  they've had success in football having made it to the ACC championship twice.  But if you talk to the ACC, you kinda get the impression that they're not that happy with new member Boston College.  Well at least their bowl partners anyway, that try to shun the Eagles every year because of their poor fan support.  The fact is, even the ACC Championship draws poorly when BC's in it.  BC wasn't in the original "5 team report" bandied about in the Chicago Tribune.  Add in that BC's 44,500 seat Alumi Stadium would be the smallest in the Big Ten and BC looks like a questionable choice.  How about Boston TV sets? Boston has the 6th largest DMA, better than any Big Ten home city with the exception of Chicago (Northwestern).  The TV argument is there along with adding another state to the Big Ten footprint.  Will BC really increase the pie of the Big Ten Network enough to justify its addition?  I don't have the answer but from what I read, BC has been somewhat of a disappointment in the ACC TV wise.  Could it change if they're playing Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State instead of Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Georgia Tech?  My guess would be yes.  

How about Notre Dame's coattails?  Suppose ND says we'll only join if we can bring BC with us.  Now why Notre Dame would do this other than that they're both private Catholic schools is beyond my comprehension.  In fact Notre Dame apparently got rather tired of being beaten by Boston College on the football field and has not renewed the series.   Notre Dame doesn't need to bring rivals to the Big Ten, it already has plenty.

If Notre Dame is campaigning for BC's admission, it would explain why the Eagles are being mentioned now while being omitted from the "Report of Five."  The idea of the Big Ten's two eastern outposts located in the DMA of over 10% of the nations total number of TV sets does have some allure to it.  You would think that the Fighting Irish would have a few fans in New York and Boston as well.   If the trend is toward superconferences, the Big Ten would pluck some prime real estate in the NYC, Philadelphia, and Boston areas if it does pull this off.  Who knows, maybe the ACC would be happy to swap out BC and swap in a West Virginia, that actually has rivalries with Maryland and Virginia Tech?  Well it passes the giggle test anyway. 
Posted on: March 12, 2010 7:51 pm

Abandon Ship? Is WV heading for the lifeboats?

How can you not like Bill Stewart?  He comes across a genuine, straight-shooter.   And crazy like a fox.  Stewart in his folksy way today basically said that he sees a future without the Big East.   He's not worried, because West Virginia will probably land in the SEC or the ACC.  Yep, he said it.  Here it is.

So kindly, straight-talking Bill Stewart just served notice:  If the Big Ten is going to start poaching Big East teams, don't expect West Virginia to hang around.  The purpose of this announcement?  Dunno.  Maybe to shock the Big East leadership into some kind of action?  Maybe to assure 'Eer fans that the Old Gold and Blue isn't going to be left out in the cold?  Could be either, or, both or more that we can't even fathom at this point.

The most important recipient of the message is a party for whom it is not actually intended.  That's Jack Swarbrick and pals at Notre Dame.   Jack's still monitoring the situation as he said he would.  Here's what he's hearing.  Big East teams that might not be considered for Big Ten membership are openly saying they wont remain in the rump of the Big East after it's been picked over by the Big Ten.  So Notre Dame's desire to stay independent in football and a Big East member for all other sports?  Well Jack the Big East you might be a member of could be a lot smaller real soon. 

West Virginia has been a loyal member of the Big East and has been the flag-bearer for the conference during some pretty bleak post ACC raid days.  It was West Virginia that knocked off Georgia in a BCS bowl.  Yes that it is an SEC team.  It was West Virginia that knocked off Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl even after Rich Rodriguez bailed on the 'Eers to head for Michigan.  Yup, a Big 12 team.  And it was West Virginia that also knocked off Georgia Tech and North Carolina in the Gator and Meineke Bowls.  Sorry bout that ACC.

For a Big East stalwart like West Virgina to say that it's looking forward to a future without the Big East means one of two things.    Either the Big East better get it's act together and do something proactive to ensure the survival of its football conference, or it won't have one. 

What could the Big East do?  A helluva lot more than what Commissioner John Marinatto was quoted as saying on Tuesday.  John was happy to tell the Times what he thinks his job is.  Here it is:

"My job is to keep everyone grounded and to improve the conference and insulate it from changing.”  

 Insulate it from changing.  Fabulous.  So basically, just make sure the basketball only schools don't get outvoted in the 16 team conference.  Reactionary strategy like this is  not going to save Big East football.  It's a way to guarantee it's death.  What could the BE do?   Well John, have you figured out yet that if the Big Ten and Pac 10 expand, the Big East will be the only BCS conference without 12 teams?  I'd start expanding John, and fast, because if you don't have the magic number of 12, you're not going to be in the BCS for long.  Apparently that's not important to the BE brain trust in Providence.  Just make sure the basketball teams don't get outvoted.

Hell here's an idea.  BE football schools, all eight of you, call up the Big 12.  Tell them, hey we hear you're being targeted for extinction as well.  Waddaya say we join forces to keep these piranhas at bay.  Take 6 or 7 of the BE football schools and make an eastern conference of the Big 12.  It's now the Big 18.  Hey if  you lose Colorado to the Pac 10, just move Louisville to the western conference.  If you lose Nebraska too, take all eight BE teams and move Cincy to the west.  Radical?  Sure.  Drastic?  You bet.  Aren't we talking about the actual survival of two BCS conferences here?  Do you really think the BCS would mess with this powerhouse?  Makes a pretty good basketball conference too.  Travel?  Not a problem.  Five division games, four conference games.  So you have to make two long trips a year.

A helluva lot better than "insulating against change."

Posted on: March 10, 2010 4:56 pm

Say It's Notre Dame. What Now Big East?

I'm very happy today to have a whole new avenue of speculation.  Notre Dame says yes, and the Big Ten tells everyone else, "Thank you for playing.  We have the lovely home version of Big Ten Football you can watch on your own TV."  After all, Notre Dame is who the Big Ten wanted all along right?  No calculations of TV market, or arguing with cable providers about cable tiers, that's it.

Much of the college football world could breathe a sigh of relief.  Not the Big East.  With Notre Dame's departure, the balance of power in the BE is once again askew.  Eight football teams, Seven basketball only teams.  The carefully crafted 16 team behemoth was made solely to keep the basketball only schools from getting outvoted.  Well ND, a basketball only school (funny to think of them that way) leaves.  Who replaces them?  Or does the fight over the answer to this question blow up the Big East?

Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, DePaul, Marquette, and St. Johns will obviously want another basketball only buddy to keep them from getting outvoted by West Virginia, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, USF, Cincy, Louisville and UConn.  At the same time, Big East football cries out for a ninth team to allow a balanced conference schedule of 4 home and 4 away every year.  Finding three out of conference games will be tough enough if this expansion craze catches on.  Do you really want to try and find 4 every other year?  I would expect the football crowd to demand another football school.  If Big East football has any chance of surviving, it needs to start getting bigger and fast.  Do you really think the other BCS conferences are going to tolerate a BCS bid for an eight team league if all the other BCS conferences have gone to 12?  Fat chance.

Is this the straw that breaks the camel's back?  Does it finally split the Big East into basketball only and all-sports confereces?  I don't see any way around it.  There's no more room for a Tranghese-like maneuver of adding one football school and two basketball schools.  An eighteen team Big East?  No way.  Even if the Big East brings in a Memphis, a school with a good basketball program, they still have D1 football.  Eventually that will be the way their votes are cast.  So if the basketball schools allow another football school to join, they're moving to the back seat.  Something that won't sit well with the Providence hierarchy of the BE.

So if Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, the Big East could turn from the hunted to the hunter.  An eight team football conference looking for new members.  And a seven team basketball-only conference looking as well.   I'll leave basketball to their own devices.  Here's my choice for an expanded all-sports Big East (which we'll have to call something else because the basketball schools will probably get that name.)


West Virginia
East Carolina?

Memphis brings basketball credibility and potential rivalries with Louisville and Cincy, UCF a potentially large TV market and a rivalry with USF,  and Temple good basketball, a football program that looks like it's on the way back to respectability along with a potential rivalry for Rutgers.  East Carolina/Buffalo is a tougher call.  East Carolina has a very good football program and had it long before Skip Holtz.  So while the coaching change hurts, I expect them to maintain their level of play.  Buffalo lost Turner Gill, and doesn't have the steady history of ECU.  Geographically they're a good fit and provide a  geographical rival for Syracuse as well as Pitt.

Or maybe the Big East will just ask Texas to join. 

Posted on: March 9, 2010 5:54 pm

The Gorilla Speaks-ND Starting to Look Interested

Well that didn't take long.  Sunday I wrote that despite the recent rumblings about Rutgers being the front runner in the Big Ten sweepstakes, no one should forget Notre Dame who could decide to make a late entry at any time.  Well today Jack Swarbrick definitely left that possibility open.

"Our preference is clear," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Tuesday. "I believe we're at a point right now where changes could be relatively small or they could be seismic."Swarbrick said it will be up to him and university president Rev. John Jenkins to "evaluate the landscape" if realignment happens."You can each come up with a scenario that would force our hand," he told a small group of reporters at a Manhattan restaurant.

Nothing really new here.  It's just getting a lot more attention this time.

So what would this doomsday scenario be?  Well emergence of the superconference for one.  If the Big Ten, Pac Ten, and SEC all go to fourteen or more,  I think ND jumps.  Even if just the Big Ten looks like it's going to fourteen Notre Dame could jump in, just because this could decimate the Big East where Notre Dame's non-football teams reside.  So basically Swarbrick has just given the Big Ten the recipe on how to make Notre Dame jump.  Create a big enough landslide so that the tectonic plates of college football start moving.  The B10 goes to 14, Pac Ten goes to 14, SEC goes to 14, hell who's going to be left to play Notre Dame?  This nuclear option I think also spells the death of the Big East and Big Twelve as we know it.  That to me stinks.  Many storied rivalries will go down the tubes on this realignmnent.  Why?  Because $20 million per team per year is not enough for the Big Ten.  Oh well, rant over.

There may be some hope and it involves a huge game of chicken.  My bet is the Big Ten's preference is still to go to just twelve by adding Notre Dame.  So, if Delany can convince Notre Dame that the Big Ten is willing to push the button on a massive three team raid, probably on the Big East,  Swarbrick cries uncle.  So Notre Dame goes to the Big Ten, and the Big East and/or Big Twelve survive for the time being.  The Pac Ten keeps pace and adds one as well.  If it's Colorado, does Arkansas jump back to its old Texas buddies in the Big 12 and the SEC poach one from somewhere else?  Who knows?  But this isn't the big seismic shift at least.

Even if this is the present end game, one gets the feeling the Big One is still coming.  If twenty million is not enough for the Big Ten teams, the SEC won't stand for the status quo either.  The Big East and Big 12 will continue to be in the crosshairs of the other BCS conferences.  Eliminating the Big 12 and Big East from the BCS bowl picture gives the other conferences a second team to cash in on the BCS riches every year.  So even if Notre Dame finally climbs into bed with the Big Ten, that won't be the end of the story.

So when will we know?  My money's on the end of June.  When the Big East expanded last time, the original members got a "get out of jail free card" that said they could leave any time before June, 2010 with no penalty.  After that I believe it's a 5 million goodbye letter.  What a coincidence!  Isn't that what's been bandied about being the "entry fee" to the Big Ten that Barry Alvarez has been alluding to?  Should be a lot of shaking and baking before June this year.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com